WinStar Farms’ Colonel John, a multiple grade I winner in 2008, tops the seven-horse field entered for the $250,000 Malibu Stakes (gr. I), the traditional opening day feature on the Dec. 26 card at Santa Anita Park in California.
Trained by Eoin Harty, Colonel John won the Travers Stakes (gr. I) and Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) this year and also scored in the grade III Sham Stakes. Overall, the son of Tiznow has won five of 10 career starts and earned $1,468,830. Co-highweighted at 123 pounds in the seven-furlong Malibu, Colonel John will be making his first start since finishing sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I).
Also assigned 123 pounds was M375 Thoroughbreds and Suarez Racing Stable’s Golden Spikes, who will be making his first start on the West Coast for trainer Marty Wolfson. He arrives with a 4-3-0 record in 13 races and earnings of $383,095. His most notable victory was achieved in Calder’s grade II Carry Back Stakes at six furlongs in July. Joel Rosario will be aboard for the first time.
Also in the Malibu field are Georgie Boy, a leading Triple Crown candidate earlier this year before being sidelined by a hind end injury; 2007 Hollywood CashCall Futurity (gr. I) winner Into Mischief, Bob Black Jack, winner of the Sunshine Millions Dash and a close second to Colonel John in the Santa Anita Derby; Guns On the Table; and Nownownow, winner of the 2007 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.
Before falling off the
Derby trail earlier this year, Georgie Boy reeled off three successive graded stakes victories that began with the grade I Del Mar Futurity and was followed by grade II events -- the San Vicente and San Rafael Stakes at Santa Anita. Trained by Kathy Walsh for George Schwary, Georgie Boy returned to action in Oak Tree’s $133,000 Damascus Stakes as the 7-5 favorite Oct. 25. But the California-bred son of Tribal Run had to settle for fourth behind victorious Into Mischief. With a 4-2-1 record in eight starts, the bay gelding has produced earnings of $503,634.
The lightly-raced Into Mischief is scheduled to make his final career start in the Malibu before heading for stallion duty in
Kentucky . He has never finished worse than second in five career starts and has earned $547,080 for owner B. Wayne Hughes. In addition to defeating Georgie Boy when taking the seven-furlong Damascus by two lengths, Into Mischief registered a 13-1 upset by 1¼ lengths over Colonel John in
Park ’s CashCall Futurity at 1 1/16 miles last December. Victor Espinoza rides the Harlan’s
Holiday colt. Into Mischief is trained by Richard Mandella, who has won a record four runnings of the Malibu.
After capturing the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes by 6¼ lengths on last year’s opening day at Santa Anita, Bob Black Jack proceeded to win the $250,000 Sunshine Millions Dash by 3½ lengths. He most recently finished 1½ lengths behind victorious Johnny Eves when a close fifth in
Park ’s grade III Vernon O. Underwood Stakes Nov. 27 following a six-month sabbatical. David Flores rides for trainer James Kasparoff. With a 3-2-1 record in nine starts, Bob Black Jack has banked $444,925 for owners Jeff Harmon and Tim Kasparoff.
Malibu Stakes (gr. I), Purse: $250,000 Distance: Seven Furlongs Surface: All Weather Track